As shown in the 1906 advertisement from The Harrison News, the Central Hotel on Market Street, boasted as being first class establishment.
This fine hotel was easily reached by visitors, only one short block from the CL&A Street Car stop on State Street, or just a little further to the train station on the Indiana side at West Broadway and Bowles Ave.
The Central Hotel’s ad states that they are just two blocks from the Big Four R.R.; well what exactly is the Big Four Railroad?
The Big Four was a major Midwestern passenger service and freight hauling railroad known as the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis Railroad, or the CCC&St.L.
The Big Four had its headquarters located in Indianapolis on Meridian St. This structure is now a modern day hotel in Indianapolis. Harrison was one of the stops on the way from Cincinnati heading to Chicago via Indianapolis.
A gentleman, commercial business man could catch the street car or train in Cincinnati and traverse to Harrison quite easily to conduct his business in town with the local factories, such as the Harrison Buggy Works, or even the Corn Drill Company.
Next train to Cincy
After conducting engaging business and a restful night at the Central Hotel, the gentleman could then catch the next train back to Cincinnati or continue on to clients along the route to Chicago.
At the time of this Harrison News advertisement the only modes of transportation were horse and buggy on dirt turnpikes or fixed rail carriers, trains and electric line street cars. “All aboard!”
Looking closer at the 1906 ad you can see that the proprietor was in fact a woman, Mrs. K. Cheetham. Not an easy job, having to manage all the aspects of the hotel operation along with the constant flow of traveling salesman stopping in looking for the local farmer’s daughter.
An iron fist
She must have ruled with an iron fist. The old Central Hotel structure still exists, aging gracefully after over 100 years. The building is located in the 100 block of Harrison Ave., she is a three story, brick structure, with one white bay window on the second floor. Go downtown and visit her.
Do you think that Mrs. Cheetham’s husband was a partner in that famous Cincinnati law firm, Dewey, Cheetham, & Howe? (Do we, cheat them, and how!). Not a great last name for a business owner.
Terry Viel is an avid Harrison history buff who collects and restores vintage Harrison photographs.
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